Chattanooga at ‘high risk’ for COVID, as infections rise across the state

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Chattanooga at ‘high risk’ for COVID, CDC recommends remaining up-to-date on vaccines

If it seems like more people in your orbit have been coming down with COVID recently, it’s not your imagination.

COVID is spreading again, not yet at the same high levels of last spring, but the disease is experiencing a noticeable spike in Tennessee and across the country.

One in four Tennessee counties is now at high risk for COVID-19, part of a growing nationwide surge in the virus that nevertheless remains an undercount as a result of widespread and unreported in-home testing, according to July 14 data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chattanooga, Clarksville, Nashville, portions of northeast Tennessee and rural western parts of the state are in the 24 counties experiencing the highest rates of COVID.

Tennessee now ranks 13th in the nation for its rate of coronavirus. Hospitalizations have increased by 21% over the prior week, but inpatient levels remain far below previous surges that taxed nurses and doctors and swallowed available bed space in some of the state’s healthcare facilities.

CDC recommendations for people living in high-risk areas include wearing masks in indoor public places and remaining up-to-date on COVID vaccines. Tennessee is the 5th-least vaccinated state in the nation, based on its percentage of fully vaccinated individuals.

The CDC also advises people with symptoms to get tested and isolate from others to reduce the risk of transmitting disease.

Tennessee averaged more than 2,400 cases and seven deaths per day, according to Tennessee Department of Health data. The state’s current fatality rate from COVID hovers at about twice above the national average, according to the CDC. As of last week, the state reported that 26,772 Tennesseans have died since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 after contracting COVID. (Source: Anita Wadhwani, Tennessee Lookout)